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B2B lead generation fuels the sales pipeline by identifying and nurturing your potential customers. Get it right, and you set up your business for long-term success.

In this article, let’s look at what B2B lead generation is and learn about 14 lead generation strategies that can help you identify and efficiently target the right accounts.

What is B2B Lead Generation?

B2B lead generation identifies companies or target accounts that are most likely to benefit from your offerings. This process aims to build a list of qualified leads that you can nurture and ultimately convert into paying customers.

For example, when building an ABM strategy, teams analyze the industry they serve to find people who are wrestling with challenges they can solve and have expectations their products or services can meet.

This is different from B2C lead generation, in which marketers target individual users rather than teams or businesses. Additionally, B2C lead generation marketing messages are more emotionally oriented and primarily focused on the intangible values offered.

Why is B2B Lead Generation Important?

It builds a predictable B2B sales pipeline that helps teams predict or forecast their revenue for the upcoming months/quarters. This also keeps your brand’s offerings at the top of decision-makers' minds in your target market.

The insights from the lead generation campaigns are essential for enhancing the understanding of the target audience and iterating marketing efforts. This can empower businesses and enterprises to offer products and services that better suit the needs of their prospects.

The Two Types of B2B Leads

Segmenting the B2B leads into two categories (SQLs and MQLs) can help streamline conversion efforts and align marketing and sales workflows.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

The SQLs have the budget, authority, need, and urgency for your offerings. These leads, by definition, are marked for pitching the product or services more explicitly and gearing up for onboarding the client.

ABM teams can do this better by personalizing communications, generating custom quotes, and answering client questions. It can also be beneficial to use dedicated CLM CPQ tools along with your CRM to let prospects know how much of an investment they might be looking at.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

MQLs are identified by the marketing team as potential customers who have shown interest in the company's products or services but are not yet ready to buy. 

These leads are typically nurtured through various marketing efforts—such as email marketing, content marketing, webinars, and SEO—until they demonstrate buying intent and meet the criteria to become SQLs. 

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14 Proven B2B Lead Generation Strategies

Every business’ offerings are unique to their competitors. Similarly, every company or enterprise you target to pitch your offerings has different needs and expectations. This requires ABM teams to adopt B2B lead generation strategies that are ideal for their situation.

Here are the 14 most commonly leveraged B2B lead generation strategies:

1. Buyer Reviews

Feedback from your existing or past customers acts as social proof, demonstrating that your products and services deliver the value as advertised. This is great for attracting clients from a particular industry or with a specific problem.

For instance, receiving a positive rating about your marketing budget software’s billing features can encourage others with identical challenges to seek your offerings.

Therefore, it is important to periodically collect feedback from your customers and showcase it on your website as testimonials.

2. Case Studies

Detailed case studies for each of your clients can help you showcase the tangible benefits of your products or services. These high-quality content pieces outline the challenges faced by your clients and their expectations.

Then, it talks about how your brand met or, ideally, exceeded their expectations.

Case studies can convince your audience of your brand’s offerings, which plays an essential role in the consideration phase of the B2B lead generation process.

3. Landing Pages and Interactive Content

As we mentioned earlier briefly, each of your potential customers seeks a different value from your business. Hence, to ensure your products and services appear relatable to your audience, creating unique landing pages highlighting the distinct values your brand offers is crucial.

Furthermore, interactive content such as calculators, quizzes, or quick feature demos can help visitors understand the advantages you offer. This can make the ABM campaign generate B2B leads more efficiently by encouraging them to sign up for a trial or book a call with the sales team.

4. Personalize Your Social and Paid Media Campaigns

Platforms like LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) are great places for businesses to find and interact with decision-makers in their target market. While doing so, it is crucial to know what kind of content fares well (such as carousels on LinkedIn or videos on X) in the platform of choice and the right frequency and timing.

Diversifying your social media B2B lead generation content based on the different audience segments you are targeting can be beneficial. Moreover, leveraging paid ads, particularly on LinkedIn, can be pivotal for raising brand awareness, particularly for businesses that are just starting out.

5. Social Selling

This B2B lead generation strategy involves you sending personalized messages to decision-makers in companies and enterprises that may benefit from your offerings.

Building a strong profile on social media platforms like LinkedIn or X is crucial before sending cold messages. A complete profile with all the relevant details can make an impactful first impression, increasing the chances of a positive reply.

Simultaneously, since you will be writing to specific individuals, conducting in-depth research into their daily needs and their niche is a must-do.

6. Search Engine Optimization

Making your business’ offerings easily accessible to your audience on search engines is a great way to generate B2B leads. Most people don’t look past the first page, and the first few results get the most traffic.

Furthermore, the senior employees of the companies in your target market probably don’t have much time to research all the options they see on the SERPs.  

Creating high-quality content that increases your search engine visibility for relevant keywords can effectively attract business and enterprise decision-makers to your website.

While doing so, it is important to follow Google and other search engine content guidelines and continually update your content as needed.

7. Video Content Marketing

A short video explaining your product's or service's benefits can work better in relaying your value proposition. Your audience can easily understand how your brand can help them, encouraging them to get interested in your offerings.

ABM teams need to find topics based on their potential customer's pain points and ambitions. Additionally, creating studio-quality videos and explaining concepts using simple terms can boost engagement, ultimately leading to an efficient B2B marketing campaign to generate better leads.

8. Referrals

Referral programs reward your existing customers or even third-party promoters for bringing you qualified leads. This can work great for certain businesses’ target markets. For instance, if you sell accounting software for restaurants, a cafe owner using your product may recommend it to a bar they occasionally visit.

While creating such programs to score more B2B leads, it is crucial for marketing teams to clarify what qualifies as a ‘relevant lead’. This will help the interested parties direct the right attention to your brand’s offerings.

9. Content Syndication

Content syndication involves distributing existing content across various platforms to expand its reach and engage a broader audience. This can involve content repurposing as well. For instance, if you have a blog article, you can share it with relevant publications.

Using content syndication to promote evergreen thought leadership content on publications or websites with a similar audience is a good practice for generating the best B2B leads through this strategy. Moreover, it is always advisable to choose platforms with the least competition.

10. Guest Posting

Guest posting is content syndication, but you use fresh content instead of existing content. Brands often share thought-leadership and experience-based opinionated content on respected blogs, publications, newsletters, etc., to attract decision-makers from their target market.

Furthermore, guest posts give a great opportunity to embed links to your website, if applicable, directing relevant traffic straight to your website. During guest posting, it is better to start by pitching topics rather than drafts and promoting the published posts later on your channels for maximum visibility.

11. Webinars and Seminars

Seminars and informative marketing webinars offer the opportunity to demonstrate expertise, provide valuable content, and directly interact with a captive audience. This increases your trustworthiness and establishes your brand as an authoritative voice in your domain.

Choose the topics for these interactive sessions by conducting polls to know which topics your audience and customers are interested in. Additionally, if you can, inviting a prominent guest speaker to your online event can get you more eyeballs and, ultimately, more B2B leads.

12. Conferences

Participating in industry conferences allows you to meet prospective clients and industry peers in person, strengthening relationships and establishing your brand's presence. In-person events are more impactful than digital lead generation tactics, as you communicate with your audience directly.

Moreover, these real-world conferences can give you more insights into the market and your customers' evolving needs. Consequently, ABM teams can easily iterate their B2B lead generation strategies for maximum success.

13. Sponsorships

Funding events and content is a hands-on way to get involved in the community around your niche. This can be great for cementing yourself as a brand that cares more about your audience rather than one that is interested in making a sale to you.

Apart from scoring a lot of B2B leads, sponsoring corporate (in-person or digital) events can promote your brand in adjacent niches. This can give unprecedented opportunities as you can discover new untapped markets.

14. Lead Magnets

Lead magnets ask for a visitor’s contact information in exchange for a content piece. This content can range from ebooks and whitepapers. Lead magnets often contain expert-led and industry-specific deep dives that are highly informative to the reader.

Keep in mind that these magnets can be quite an investment. Hence, it is crucial to do detailed research to assess the demand before you create such content. Furthermore, promoting these lead magnets through blog posts, social media, etc., is equally essential to get the word out.

How to Run an Optimized B2B Lead Generation Process

Running an optimized B2B lead generation process is crucial for maximizing efficiency, improving lead quality, and increasing conversion rates. Here are three fundamental steps that can help you get started in that direction:

  • Identify Your Ideal Customer Persona: This involves understanding your target audience's characteristics, pain points, and buying behavior. Consequently, you can tailor your B2B marketing and sales efforts to meet their needs better and increase the likelihood of conversion.
  • Pick One or More Lead Generation Strategies: Select the ones that align with where your ideal customers are most likely to engage. Choosing the right mix of strategies and setting automation is key to effectively reaching and engaging potential leads.
  • Begin Prospecting and Qualify Leads as They Come In: Use of the right segmenting and filtering and customer data to identify hot leads. Then, quickly qualify them to determine their readiness and fit using CRM automation. This helps the B2B sales team invest in leads that are most likely to convert, increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the conversion process.

How to Measure the Performance of Your B2B Lead Generation Process

Identifying and tracking the relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your B2B lead generation process. A good practice is to set up marketing automation to generate timely reports, save time, and enhance productivity.

You can gauge the efficiency of your strategies and guide iterative improvements, enhancing performance over time, by closely monitoring these numbers:

  • Average Lead Value (ALV): This reflects the mean revenue each B2B lead generates. It helps assess the efficacy of the campaigns and lead management pipelines.
  • Cost per Lead (CPL) is the money spent to acquire a lead. This is pivotal in sales and marketing budgeting and understanding the financial efficiency of your B2B lead generation efforts.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): This represents the total average cost associated with acquiring a new customer, including all marketing and sales expenses. This metric is vital for evaluating the profitability and sustainability of your acquisition strategies.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the total estimated revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer account throughout the business relationship. CLV helps determine long-term business strategies and customer engagement approaches.
  • Lead Conversion Rate: Measures the percentage of leads that convert into paying customers. This gives insight into the effectiveness of your nurturing and qualification processes.
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): Tracks the total predictable revenue generated by customers every month, which is crucial for businesses with a subscription-based model.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): Calculates the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. This metric is critical for assessing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
  • Time to Conversion: The average time taken for a lead to convert into a customer. Faster conversions can indicate more effective lead management and nurturing.
  • Web Traffic: The volume of visitors to your website. This offers insights into brand reach and marketing campaign effectiveness.
  • Lead Quality: Assesses the potential of leads to convert based on specific scoring criteria. This metric is often coupled with web traffic to know whether your targeting is on point.
  • Sales Velocity: The speed at which leads move through your sales pipeline and generate revenue. Higher velocity indicates a more efficient B2B sales process and more qualified leads.
  • Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate: A specific metric showing the ratio of leads that become paying customers, this metric highlights the overall effectiveness of the sales funnel.
  • Churn Rate of Leads: Indicates the percentage of leads that fall out of the engagement funnel before conversion, helping identify leaks in the B2B lead nurturing process.

Elevating B2B Lead Generation for Future Success

B2B lead generation consistently adds qualified prospects to businesses' sales pipeline. This process involves identifying the decision makers of the companies that are seeking a solution to a challenge that you can provide and getting them interested in your offerings. Once you have them, you can use even more techniques like cross selling in marketing to increase value.

In the mean time, staying updated about market trends, technologies, and regulations is valuable to ensure your workflow is efficient and effective. Thousands of sales experts, marketers, managers, and decision-makers in B2B organizations trust The CMO’s newsletter, so make sure you subscribe, too!

Dozie Anyaegbunam
By Dozie Anyaegbunam

Dozie Anyaegbunam is the Senior Editor of The CMO, digital marketing firepower for SaaS pioneers. He's a marketing strategist with years of experience in Marketing, Communications, Ecommerce, and SEO. And has worked across verticals ranging from software to edu-tech, apparel, and F&B, leading teams at B2B SaaS startups, global multinationals, and the public sector. He’s the Founder & Host of The Newcomer’s Podcast featuring immigrants and their stories of moving to a new country, and he’s currently producing a documentary on the immigrant’s experience.